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Covid-19: NYC reopens after nearly three months

New York: Amidst anti-racial protests sweeping across the US, New York City entered its first phase of reopening, 100 days after it reported the first COVID-19 case.

“This is a powerful day,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday at a press briefing in Brooklyn.

“It is the day that we start to liberate ourselves from this disease,” he added.

Over 400,000 workers were expected to return to work on the day of reopening. Before the pandemic, New York City had the highest employment on record, with 4.5 million people working in the city each day, the Guardian reported.

The Mayor said last week that more than 30,000 construction sites will reopen during the first phase, and up to 400,000 non-essential workers in various sectors including construction, manufacturing, wholesale and curbside retail would go back to work.

According to the phased reopening strategy designed by the New York state government, businesses permitted to reopen in phase one include construction, manufacturing, wholesale and curbside and in-store pick-ups for nonessential retail.

New York City became the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak this spring. Over 21,000 people died of confirmed or probable COVID-19. The city’s death toll accounts for roughly one in five of the 110,000 coronavirus deaths across the US.

At its peak, the virus killed more than 500 people a day in New York City in early to mid-April, overwhelming healthcare facilities, funeral homes and whole communities.

According to the state’s strategy, a region must stay in each phase for at least two weeks, during which the city and the state will closely monitor the trend of the COVID-19 curve.

De Blasio said earlier this month that New York City could be ready for phase two by July.

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